I must admit, last week was one of the most inspirational and heartbreaking weeks of my life. Before the senseless murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, WhyCauseICan.com was able to attend Essence Festival in New Orleans and experience black excellence at its best. One of the best parts of the events was being surprised the day of as it was announced the day of that Oprah Winfrey will be a guest speaker on July 2nd to close out the empowerment conference for the day. As you can imagine, this was an event that literally NO ONE was trying to miss as Oprah is known for delivering inspiration speeches that can make anyone want to strive to be great.
As the room packed out hours before it began, press was able to shoot the event just a few feet from the stage. Closing out an inspirational interview with Misty Copeland, moderated by Soledad O’Brien, Rev. Al Sharpen hit the stage to deliver some driving words for the audience to do more and strive to be greater in America. Afterwards their was a moment of intermission where the audience build up their anticipation to see the lady of the evening. In audience you could see, Roland Martin announcing his entrance as he put on for his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity as he strolled down the aisle, danced with SELMA director Ava DuVernay and took selfies with Oprah’s close friend, Gayle King as well as actress of the OWN show Greenleaf, Lynn Whitfield got the crowd excited as she danced in the audience.
As the crowd sat down, holding their excitement back, Oprah came to the stage with an eardrum bursting applause. With camera clacking so fast that it begin to sound like a box of tazers going off, Oprah waved at the audience and showed how excited she was to be there. To begin her closing empowerment speech, Oprah spoke on her growth and what she came to notice while becoming the Oprah we know today. From her meeting with wealthy people and wanting ‘trees’ in her yard before she became wealthy, to even wanting a part in the movie, The Color Purple when it was being created. In many of her situations, she came to understand that she was not in control of her destiny, but instead her ‘purpose’ was.
Throughout her life she came to notice that it took her to surrender to God for her to truly recieve everything she has today. Even for the role in The Color Purple, before becoming known as the character, Sofia in the Steven Spielberg directed film, Oprah found herself trying to blend in, lose weight, being put down and more all before surrendering herself to God and accepting who she was and knowning what will be, will be. This all before getting a call from Spielberg who got word that she was at a fat camp and letting her know if she loses even one pound, she wouldn’t get the part LOL!
One of her biggest statements that even helps me to focus on what and why I will make certain moves is knowning your ‘purpose’. Purpose as in to why you are doing something. This was one question that was asked by her when on her rise as a talk show host to being her OWN network. In her statement she delivered the meaning stronger to people as she stated, “the reasons why some people who go to church don’t receive any blessing as they continue to give to collection basket is because their purpose of giving anything wasn’t to honest help anyone, but instead to be seen as someone giving money.”
This I feel is the problems with many people. Even in times of revolutions, developement and growth, many people take the time to standout only to be seen standing out. The purpose of stepping out was never to seek change, or to help other. So next time, you do something and are hoping for the best, be honest with yourself and ask yourself, what is the purpose I’m looking to create from this?
Even though I was able to witness the inspiration speech before all of the tradgic situations that have happened last week, It feel it was one that people should know of today, rather than releasing this post earlier, or during the heartache many Americans were going through. As we strive to seek answers, solutions and announce leaders of the next generation, understand the purpose in which we are doing everything all while surrending ourselves to God.
Checkout Photos From The Event Below: